Video-enhanced imaging of retinal wholemounts reveals an abrupt change in the composition of the photoreceptor mosaic at the edge of the human retina. Cone densities rise threefold and rod densities fall tenfold in a 1-mm-wide peripheral band. Antibodies directed against cones confirm the identification of the major subtypes of photoreceptors within this peripheral band. The cone-enriched rim is most highly developed along the nasal retinal margin, an area where the extreme lateral periphery of the visual field is imaged. This rim of cones may function as part of a rapid-acting alert mechanism under conditions of moderate and bright illumination.